THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Celebrating Chicago’s Change of Season!

Yep, it’s here! The first day of autumn is this Saturday. Here’s how Chicagoans will be celebrating its change of season!!

The 8th annual BeerHoptacular takes place Saturday (3:00 p.m. VIP/4:00 p.m. General to 8:00 p.m.) at the awe-inspiring Vertiport Chicago (1339 S. Wood St.) on the Near West Side.  As craft beer fans come together to celebrate their love of American beer culture, this year’s festival has more beer, more attitude, and more . . . other stuff!  So, in addition to their 150+ craft beers, fans can enjoy some of Chicago’s favorite food trucks, the annual BeerHoptacular Competition sponsored by Pollyanna Brewing Co., a DJ, a beer bicycle, a live photo booth, and much more!!

Visit Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood on Sunday (1:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.) for a cultural experience at the Chicago World Music Festival Meets World Dumpling Festival.  The Chicago World Music Festival concludes its citywide event here with performances by Jupiter and Okwess playing Congolese rhythms, Delgres from Guadeloupe combining Caribbean rhythms with the delta blues, and the Zhou Family Band from China playing traditional wind and percussion music.  The 2nd annual World Dumpling Fest features dumplings of the world from 10 neighborhood ethnic restaurants, along with cultural artists and family activities!!  These global sounds and flavors will take place at the Polk Bros. Performance Lawns.

You know it’s autumn when huge pretzels are here and big steins of beer are flowing again!  So, put on your lederhosen, lace up your dirndl, and dust off your stein to fill it with the best Oktoberfest Märzen this side of the Atlantic at Burnt City Brewing’s Oktoberfest 2018 on Saturday (12:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood (2747 N. Lincoln Ave.).  They’ll also be serving up plenty of sausage, schnitzel, and sauerkraut to go with your beer stein!!

Bring the kids to the great outdoors of Lincoln Park Zoo (2200 N. Cannon Dr.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on Saturday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) for Fiesta Familiar.  This event brings the very best family entertainment with hands-on activities including coloring, crafts, dance lessons, Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling), face painting, and much more!  And, you’ll get to celebrate our change of season with the animals!!

Sunday brings us the annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to Soldier Field (1410 Museum Campus Dr.) in the South Loop.  This event attracts over 2,500 participants annually and is one of the most visible, recognizable, and longstanding events in the Chicagoland area.  Opening ceremonies begin at 10:25 a.m. and the 5K & 10K runs begin at 10:35 a.m.  The walk begins at 10:50 a.m. and the MillerCoors’ Beer Garden opens at 11:30 a.m.  Finally, the closing ceremonies are at 12:00 p.m. with awards for top runners!  This run is an inspiring demonstration of compassion and action, so come join us!!

As all baseball fans know around here, autumn means we’re nearing the end of another baseball season and heading into the playoffs.  So, come out and support your team this weekend as the Chicago White Sox host the Chicago Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field (333 W. 35th St.) in the Bridgeport neighborhood!!

Yep – Autumn is Here!!

Is Buying Before Selling Too Much of a Risk?

It’s the age-old question that buyers and sellers ask themselves when they’re ready to make a move: should I buy first or sell first?

The best answer depends on the situation. In many cases, homeowners decide to start looking around to see what’s out there before they put their homes on the market. That way, they’ll be able to make sure that they’ve got a place to retreat to if their current property closes quickly.

Buying a home can often take longer than selling depending on the market. Buyers want to make sure they’ve been able to find exactly what they want without being in a rush to settle for any home if their current home closes sooner than they expected.

But either way, there are certain inherent risks to buying first or selling first.

What’s the Risk of Buying First?

If you by a home before your current home sells, the obvious risk would be that you may be stuck with two homes, paying two mortgages. If you end up finding a new home rather quickly and your current home takes forever to find a willing buyer, this is precisely the conundrum you could find yourself in.

This risk is more prevalent when the market starts to cool. Many sellers who may have been seeing other sellers sell very quickly as a result of a hot seller’s market may want to capitalize themselves. But they may often get into the market just a little too late as the market starts to cool.

What could end up happening is having a listing that lingers for weeks, despite already committing to a new home. The deal on the new home closes, while the current home still has yet to receive a solid offer. You would then have two homes – and mortgages – to juggle at the same time, which can end up being quite stressful, both emotionally and financially.

That said, you don’t necessarily have to pay two full mortgage payments every month, as this could certainly prove to be a huge financial burden that many people wouldn’t be able to handle. Instead, you may be eligible to take out a “bridge loan” to help ease the financial burden of carrying two homes.

A bridge loan is a temporary loan that covers both the buying and selling transactions. It can help you secure your new mortgage until you’re finally able to be rid of your mortgage obligation on your current home. If you don’t have the funds to carry both mortgages and your current home still hasn’t sold, a bridge loan would allow you to fund the down payment for your new home. 

It should be noted, however, that you would still have to get approved for a bridge loan, much like any other type of loan. As such, there is always the risk that your lender may not approve you for a bridge loan, which means there’s always the chance that you could be stuck with more expensive financial obligations until your current home sells.

Should You Buy or Sell First?

As mentioned earlier, the answer to this question will vary depending on a number of factors.

For starters, what is your financial position like? Would you be comfortable paying two mortgages for a temporary amount of time in the event that your current home takes longer to sell, even though you’ve already committed to another property? While bridge loans exist, you’ll also have to make sure you qualify for one.

Also, consider the market. Are you in the middle of a buyer’s or seller’s market? A buyer’s market means there is plenty of inventory to go around. Demand isn’t very high, though supply is abundant. In these markets, it’s usually easier to find a home to purchase than it is to sell. Buyers may have their pick of the litter, while sellers may have to fight harder to make a sale.

A seller’s market, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. There is limited inventory available, and buyers are competing with one another for whatever is listed. In these markets, homes tend to sell rather quickly.

Keep in mind that you’re both a buyer and a seller. No matter what market you happen to be in, you could find one transaction very easy, while the other may be a lot more challenging.

If it’s a buyer’s market out there, consider listing your home first, as it could probably take longer to sell than to buy. But if you’re in the middle of a seller’s market, consider looking for a home first.

This is especially true if the market is on the rise. In this case, buying before selling can be a great way to get ahead when the market is on its way up, especially in expensive centers. Just be sure to time your move right, or else you could find yourself getting caught out of these rising markets. In this case, you may have sold your home already but can’t find a new house to purchase because of the rise in competition.

There is also the option of inserting a clause on the offer you submit on the new home that makes it conditional upon the sale of your current home. While most sellers don’t like these clauses, some may be open to them if they themselves are having a tough time selling.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of which avenue you take, be sure to make your decision upon the guidance and advice of a seasoned real estate agent. Have an in-depth conversation with your realtor so that you completely understand all of your options and potential risks to help you make a sound decision.

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Bucktown and Wicker Park, Lincoln Square, Edgewater, Portage Park

Lakeview: Applications are now open for The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival! Now in its 18th year, this festival runs from January 10-20, 2019. It celebrates the best in local, national, and international sketch comedy! Applications may be submitted through October 15, 2018 here.

Lincoln Park: It’s that time of year again- Bloody Mary Fest! This fantastic fest returns on Sunday, October 14 to the gorgeous lakefront venue Theatre on the Lake. From 12 to 3:30 pm, you can enjoy some of the city’s best Bloody Mary’s, specialty brunch- themed cocktails, craft beer, brunch bites, live music, lawn games, an Artisan Market, and more. There are general admission and VIP tickets available. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit K94Keeps, a non-profit organization that strives to place dogs with families in forever homes. Purchase your tickets here.

Bucktown and Wicker Park: With fall comes all kinds of fabulous fall festivals; like Boo-Palooza! On Saturday, October 27 from 10 am to 2 pm, you’ll have fall fun and support a great cause, as the festival is a fundraiser for the 2019 Create Series. There is a suggested donation of $10 per family. The day will include two costume parades- one for children, families, and adults; one for dogs and their owners- Mr. Dave Music and other exciting performances, a dog activity area, a pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating, a maze, bobbing for apples, face painting, ghost bingo, and more. For more information about this exciting event, click here!

Lincoln Square: Vom Fass loves Oktoberfest and wants to celebrate with you! To kick off this fantastic season, Vom Fass Lincoln Square is hosting “Flavors of Fall: Cocktail & Liqueur Tasting” this Saturday, September 22 from 7-8:30 pm. At this fabulous fall event, you’ll sample their special Apple Pie liqueur and learn how to make Hot Toddies. Tickets are just $15. Hurry and buy yours here– they’re going fast!

Edgewater: Celebrate the last weekend of summer and give back to your community at the 1st Annual PAWS of Summer Benefit! This fabulous event will be hosted by Uncommon Ground in Edgewater on Saturday, September 29 from 2 to 6 pm. You’ll enjoy music, cocktails, food, prizes, Uncommon Ground’s rooftop farm tours, and more! The price of admission will benefit two causes: Care for Real and Edgewater Dog Park. Ticket prices include food, drinks, entertainment, guided rooftop farm tours, doggy swag bags, and entertainment. You can make additional donations for a raffle and silent auction. Tickets are $60 per person, $100 for two people, and $10 per dog (limited quantities). You can purchase your tickets here.

Portage Park: Get yourself over to the Patio Theater for a fabulous night supporting a good cause! This is an all-ages benefit concert for the nonprofit organization PAVE, which works to empower and educate people in an effort to end sexual violence. American Idol star Haley Reinhart (Season 10) will perform! Selah Freedom, an organization that combats human sex trafficking, is another beneficiary of the concert. General admission tickets are just $22 and can be purchased at The show is on Saturday, September 29. Doors open at 7 pm and the concert begins at 8 pm.


Restaurant Review – Publican Quality Meats

This week took me to a fantastic restaurant: Publican Quality Meats. The sister restaurant to The Publican, this charming spot is a butcher shop, cafe, bakery, gourmet market, and private dining room all rolled into one. Their website says “The highly seasonal menu and chef-curated retail offerings include house-made charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, freshly baked breads, specialty coffee drinks, rustic soups, and sandwiches”. Immediately I knew it was right up my alley. The restaurant is very small, with only a few tables inside and a smattering out on the patio. We came in on a Saturday morning and there was a bit of a wait; in total we waited about 20 minutes for a table to be ready. The tables inside are long, picnic-style tables. Because of our smaller group, we shared a table with another group, which was actually kind of fun. After looking at the menu, my mouth was already watering. Of course, my eye was caught by both the Butcher’s Cheese Plate (either 1 or 3 cheeses with accoutrement) and the Butcher’s Cold Charcuterie Plate (either 1, 3, or 5 selections). With great difficulty, I decided to skip on the appetizers and save myself for the main course. My first choice was between breakfast or lunch. My friend decided he was going to order breakfast and promised me a bite, so I was free to choose from the lunch menu. I finally decided on the The BGS: crispy falafel, red curry soubise, urfa yogurt, fennel, pickled cauliflower, and gem lettuce on a potato bun. I don’t normally go for vegetarian entrees, but this sounded so intriguing, I had to try it. First, I had to do a bit of googling. What is soubise? What is urfa yogurt? My search told me soubise is a thick white sauce made with onion puree, so I was sold. Urfa is a deep purple spice with a smoky, fruity, raisin-like quality, often used in Turkish cooking. This sandwich was absolutely delicious. The combination of flavors and textures was fantastic. The yogurt was smoky and creamy, perfectly complimenting the crispy, hot falafel. The pickled cauliflower gave it just the right amount of tang, along with the red curry soubise. I would order this again in a heartbeat. I can’t wait to come back and try more dishes here!

The dining room at PQM is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm, and Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm. The butcher shop is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm, and Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm. Find more information on their website.


Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips: Fall Maintenance – Lawn and Garden

Fall is right around the corner! It’s a good time to take advantage of the cooler temperatures to do some maintenance jobs in the garden and lawn.

As vegetable plants in the garden are spent, remove them. It might be tempting to leave them for mulch but this is not a good idea. Even growing, healthy-looking plants can have disease or be infested. It’s better to remove them and cover the area with good compost. No need to till it;  tilling simply brings more weed seeds to the surface to grow in your nice compost. The compost will work its way in over winter. Trim down still-producing tomato plants to only the producing vines.

The lawn should be looking a little better now that the extremely hot weather has passed. This is a great time to augment the grass and soil. Purchase a few bags of high quality topsoil; just one level up from the $1 bags, there’s no need to buy the pricey name brand. When looking for topsoil, driest is best. If it’s been raining, stay away from soil stored outside; find the nice dry bags inside. Get yourself a couple pounds of grass seed while you’re there. Look for higher percentages of Blue Grass. Spread the soil evenly over the lawn and smooth in with the back of a regular lawn rake. Let the soil water in. If there’s no regular rain, water in yourself. Spread out the grass seed. Water again and do so lightly every day till the seed sprouts, usually 7-10 days. Grass grows best in cool temperatures, so you will have a great lawn that will flourish next year.

Now is your last chance to trim to all your bushes. You don’t want to trim bushes too late in the year, as the new growth will not be strong enough to survive the winter. So trim down a little more than you normally would, so they’ll get through the winter with all their late growth attached.


How Long Does it Take to Sell Your Home?

When sellers list their homes on the market, they’re usually concerned with two main things: how much they can sell for, and how long it will take to sell.

Sellers will usually want to know the answers to these questions right off the bat, and for obvious reasons. But when it comes to how long it will take to get an offer and seal the deal, the answer isn’t always clear-cut.

Frankly, the amount of time it takes to sell depends on a few factors, including the following.

The Listing Price

Buyers are always looking for a good deal on a home. The same is true in any type of consumer market, whether it’s real estate, clothing, electronics, and any other consumer product. The lower the price, the more attractive the product will appear and the more willing buyers will be to open up their wallets.

In terms of real estate, the same concept applies. If your home is priced at a point that makes buyers think they’re potentially getting a good deal, your home could sell faster. On the other hand, if your listing price is quite high, that could be a deterrent for buyers.

While you don’t want to price your home so high that you leave many buyers out of the race, you also don’t want to price so low that you end up leaving money on the table. Unless you’re in an incredible rush to sell, it would be in your best interests to find that sweet spot so that you still make a profit while selling within a reasonable amount of time.

Either way, your listing price will influence how quickly your home will sell.

The Current Market

Is the housing market in your area currently favoring buyers or sellers? This is an important factor that influences how long it can take for homes to sell. Generally speaking, homes sell faster in seller’s markets, while they may take longer to sell in buyer’s markets.

In a seller’s market, there are many buyers on the prowl for a home who are competing with one another for the few properties that are available for sale. With high demand and low supply comes higher prices and faster sales.

On the other hand, a buyer’s market usually means that homes take longer to sell, simply because there are few buyers compared to the wealth of inventory available. In this case, prices are expected to be lower as well.

The climate of the market in your area can play a role in how long you can expect it to take to sell your home. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. But generally speaking, the climate of the current market will be an important factor to consider.

The Average in the Area

Every area has its own characteristics in terms of the local real estate market. While some areas might take longer for sellers to find a buyer, other areas tend to see homes getting snatched up rather quickly. Every area is different and will have its own average number of “days on the market” (DOM) before homes are sold.

Sellers will want to know what the average DOM is in their particular community in order to gauge how long they can expect it to take to sell. For instance, the average DOM in an area may be 30 days, which means it should take somewhere in the ballpark of 30 days to sell a home, assuming that all other factors remain the same. If your home has been sitting on the market for longer than 30 days, there could be a problem with your listing that may warrant closer investigation.

Looking at the average DOM in your area can give you a general idea of how long you can expect your home to sit on the market before finding a willing buyer and completing the transaction.

The Condition of Your Home

Most buyers want to see homes that are move-in ready. They typically don’t want to have to spend any time sprucing up the place after moving in. Unless the buyer is specifically looking for a place to fix and flip, you’re probably going to find that most buyers are looking for a turn-key home.

If your home is in need of some TLC, you can expect it to take longer to sell. On the other hand, if your home is up-to-date, clean, clear of clutter, and decorated appropriately, it shouldn’t take as long to sell compared to a home that’s in dire need of an update.

The Location

Desirable locations tend to favor quicker sales compared to areas that are not as attractive. Sometimes even homes that are in great condition can be tough to sell if they’re located in sketchy neighborhoods, while homes that need some improvement but are located in attractive areas may not take as long to sell.

The Bottom Line

Several factors come into play when it comes to gauging how long it will take to sell your home. It’s important to take them all into consideration when anticipating the length of time you can expect your home to sit on the market before finding a willing buyer. Having an idea of the time it will take to sell can be very helpful, especially if you’ve got a new home purchase lined up after selling your current one.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Fall-Related Festivals with Summer-Like Temps!

Even though fall-related festivals are taking place this weekend (and autumn officially begins next Saturday, September 22nd) Chicagoans will be basking in summer-like temps again!

Back for its 6th flavor-filled year, the Sam Adams Lakeview Taco Fest returns to Southport Avenue between Roscoe and Addison Streets in the Lakeview neighborhood this Saturday and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.).  More than a dozen local eateries challenge themselves to make the tastiest tacos.  The fest also features special beer and taco pairings, two music stages, crowd-pleasing Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling (daily at 5:00 p.m. at Cornelia & Southport), plenty of activities for the kids, and text voting for Chicago’s “Best Taco!”  It’s a celebration of tacos, seasonal beers, and the start of autumn!!

Are you in the mood for culinary fun?  Well the Fulton Market Harvest Fest in the West Loop neighborhood (Fulton Market between Halsted & Racine) brings together the country’s best chefs, fantastic craft beer, live music, and Chicago’s best restaurants for a weekend of culinary fun!  You can even get in on a variety of fun activities like cooking demonstrations, dinners and a brunch featuring some of Chicago’s top chefs, food and beverage classes, and a neighborhood street fest- including a Kids’ Alley.  It’s fun for the whole family!!

Founded in 2005 in Chicago, Riot Fest returns to Douglas Park (1401 S. Sacramento Dr.) in the North Lawndale neighborhood for a multi-day music festival specializing in rock, punk, alternative, metal, and hip-hop.  Food vendors, sideshow performers, carnival rides, and more add to the atmosphere of this music fest!

The Printer’s Row Art Fest takes place this Saturday and Sunday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) on Dearborn Street from Polk to Harrison Streets in the South Loop.  Exquisite artwork of all mediums will be represented at all price points— along with live bands and neighborhood cuisine!

The Ravenswood Artwalk takes place this Saturday and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) along Ravenswood Avenue from Irving Park Road to Leland Avenue in the Lakeview neighborhood.  This event will have an outdoor art market, a beer garden, live music, food trucks, and children’s activities!

Movies in the Parks season is quickly winding down.  This weekends’ are listed below.

Friday, September 14th:
“Spaceballs” (7:00 p.m.) – Revere Park (2509 W. Irving Park Rd.) – North Center
“Trolls” (8:00 p.m.) – Lincoln Park (5000-5700 N. Lake Shore Dr.) – Lincoln Park
“Justice League” (8:00 p.m.) – Commercial Club Playground Park (1845 W. Rice St.) – West Town

Saturday, September 15th:
“Beauty and the Beast” (8:00 p.m.) – Hermitage Park (5839 S. Wood St.) – Englewood
“Wonder Woman” (8:00 p.m.) – Bradley Park (9729 S. Yates Ave.) – Jeffrey Manor

Sunday, September 16th:
“Coco” (7:30 p.m.) – Steelworkers Park (East 87th at Lake Michigan) – South Chicago

Enjoy a Fall Festival While Basking!

Protecting Your Home Against Wildfires

The latest string of wildfires in California have torched over 688,000 acres and destroyed more than 2,000 structures. If that wasn’t bad enough, more than 40 people have been killed by these fires since last fall.

Wildfires are certainly a dangerous hazard in the Golden State thanks to the dry heat that most of the state experiences, especially during hotter times of the year. In light of these staggering numbers, it’s vital for homeowners to do whatever they can to protect their homes and themselves from the dangers of wildfires.

Here are a few things you can do to keep your home and family safe.

Get Rid of Combustible Items Around the Perimeter of Your Home

It’s a simple task, but it’s also an effective one. Eliminating all debris from around your home that can easily catch fire and allow it to spread is the first item on the agenda. Things like dead leaves, stacks of firewood, and dry bushes should be cleared out.

Ideally, anything that could potentially catch fire easily should be at least 30 feet away from the exterior of your home. The further away from your home, the better.

Choose Your Fencing, Decks, and Roof Materials Wisely

It can be tough to replace these items, but they are often the source major spreading of fires if they’re made out of wood. When you’re replacing or building these components, steer clear of wood. Roofs especially are extremely vulnerable to fires, so cedar shingles should never be considered.

Instead of wood, consider non-combustible materials, such as asphalt, steel, and tile for your roof. For your fence and deck, consider stone or concrete. And for the exterior walls, stay away from wood-based siding and stick with brick, stucco, or cement. 

Plant Fire-Resistant Greenery in Your Landscaping

Your home’s landscaping is important for esthetic and curb appeal, and can also provide some much-needed shade from the sizzling sun. But that same landscaping can also provide an easy way to bring a fire into your home.

When landscaping, look for fire-resistant plants to add around your home’s exterior, such as deciduous trees and shrubs. And resist the urge to add decorative climbing vines to your exterior walls. Sure, they may look pretty, but they also catch fire easier as well. In addition, make sure that your grass is cut regularly and kept moist.

Screen Your Home’s Eavestroughs

An easy way for fire embers to make their way into your home and start a fire inside is through eavestrough openings and vents. Make sure that these areas are properly screened. While you’re at it, make sure to keep your eavestroughs clean and free of debris, which can also be sources of fires starting and spreading.

Upgrade Windows and Treatments

Intense heat from fires can easily break windows and allow fires to get into a home. Drapes and other window treatments can also easily catch fire. To combat this issue, use fire-resistant materials for drapes and treatments, and consider upgrading your windows to those that feature dual-paned glass or a heat-reflective coating.

Install Smoke Detectors

If you haven’t done so already, make sure that every level of your home is outfitted with a smoke detector. But once they are installed, don’t just leave them. Every month, you should take the time to make sure the batteries are still functional. Also, inspect the actual smoke detectors to verify that they’re still in good working order.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy

A quick way to put out a small fire before it’s given the chance to spread is to keep a fire extinguisher or two handy. Ideally, you’ll have one on each level. Make sure everyone in the house knows where they are and how to operate them.

Make Sure Your Homeowners Insurance Policy is Up-to-Date

In the unfortunate vent that a fire does occur, make sure your policy will cover the damage. If your insurance coverage is not up-to-date, you could find yourself disappointed if you find out that your policy doesn’t offer adequate protection against the damage from a fire.

The Bottom Line

There are certain areas in California that are particularly susceptible to fires. But even in areas that are at lower risk, homeowners should still take measures to minimize the odds of their house catching on fire. As we’ve seen many times, these fires can catch on quickly and spread even faster. Consider the above tips to protect your home when wildfires strike.

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Bucktown and Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Andersonville, River North, Oak Park

Bucktown and Wicker Park: It’s time for the 7th Annual Wicker Park Bucktown Fall Dinner Crawl! The event is on Tuesday, September 25 from 6 to 9 pm. Calling all foodies to taste small bites and signature appetizers from participating restaurants, while also exploring Wicker Park and Bucktown! The crawl is divided into four routes: Fork, Knife, Spoon, and Plate. Enjoy them at the pace and order you decide. Tickets range from $35 to $45 dollars. Find out detailed route information and buy yours now, here!

Lincoln Park: It’s that time of year again! It’s Hoptoberfest at Hop Cat! On Sunday, September 23 from 10 am to 10 pm, Hop Cat will be pouring their favorite local and authentic imported Oktoberfest beers. They’ll also be giving away a limited number of Oktoberfest steins, so make sure to get there early! For more information, click here.

Lakeview: Join Grassroots Animal Rescue as they kick up their heels for a good cause! Save the date for Saturday, October 20 from 6 to 10:30 pm at the Second Unitarian Church. This is the 2nd Annual Hoppin’ Cats: A Swing Dance Fundraiser. There will be live music, raffle and auction items, a photobooth, performances by the Chicago Chorus Girl Project, and more. Your registration ticket supports spaying, neutering, vet care, and supplies. Early bird tickets are still available for just $40, so hop on it and get yours here!

Andersonville: It’s time for Lit Crawl 2018! On Saturday, September 22, Clark Street will be transformed as literary events take over neighborhood bars, restaurants, and businesses. From 5:30 to 7:30 pm, you can visit Poems While You Wait- typewritten poetry on demand crafted by local Chicago poets for just $5 per poem. From 6 to 6:30 pm, you’ve got to check out Story Time with Drag Queens! The Queens will be at Women & Children First to read classic bedtime stories to children of all ages. Then from 7:30 to 8:30 pm, check out “The Best Books of 2018…. So Far!”, curated by Adam Morgan, founder of the Chicago Review of Books. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.

River North: Save the date for Fire-Tober Fest 2018! On Saturday, September 22 from 12-3 pm, head to Old Crow Smokehouse and join the Chicago Fire Soccer Club at this second annual fest. Find your perfect brewskie while enjoying selections from various local breweries, as well as tasty snacks. This is an afternoon of beer, food, raffles, and more! All proceeds benefit The Chicago Fire’s P.L.A.Y.S (Participate, Learn, Achieve, Youth, Soccer) Program for 2018. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased here.

Oak Park: Join the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory for “Uncorked Plus”! On Friday, September 28 from 6 to 8 pm, you can enjoy the Conservatory with music, wine, craft beer, and appetizers. This is the final Uncorked of the season- so you don’t want to miss it! The Szurko Trio will be playing classics, oldies, and more. Wine and craft beer will be provided by Two Brothers Social Tap and appetizers are from Q-BBQ. There will be a drawing for five different packages including Wine and Chocolate Lover’s baskets, an Italian Restaurant package, and Winter Themed Desserts! The price of admission includes two drink tickets and one food token. Guests must be 21 years of age or older. Advance tickets are just $15 or $18 at the door. Find more information and purchase your tickets here.